Ruby stretched, shoving the twisted sheets down to the end of the bed. Winter had come to Santa Cruz, bringing a lot more hours of darkness. She kept silent, stretching her arms in the air, trying to unknot the muscles in her back and shoulders.
Satisfied she’d recovered quickly enough from all the exercises she’d been running, she pushed off the mattress, her feet hitting the wooden floorboards with a muffled slap. David had been putting her through her paces for the last three weeks, running defensive drills and attack patterns. Fighting as a vampire was ten times more complicated, and far more efficient, then as a human. Vampires had grace and subtlety, with the capability of making the slightest movements while extracting maximum damage.
Being his childer, David had not cut her any slack. Ruby saw it in his eyes when he thought she didn’t; he was still haunted by the attack of the Bloods in Los Angeles. The very attack that had killed her and brought her over to the vampire side of reality. He went at her without mercy at times, but he knew Ruby had the strength and stamina to take what he dished out. She knew he was afraid they might still come after her and the Boys. David wanted her to be ready, just in case.
Ruby stretched again, hearing the soft pops as her spine stretched and realigned. It was cold in the house; they really saved a fortune by not bothering to hook up the gas for heat. Yawning softly, she tugged the dingy white undershirt back down over her stomach and padded out into the hall.
Not bothering with a light, she headed up the hall towards the bathroom. The house was pitch black in the back half; David had rigged a light in the great room with a timer, so it looked like people actually did inhabit the house. She heard the soft hum of its electric bulb as she reached the bathroom.
Groping for the switch, the snap of electricity coming on as the overhead fixture came to life still amazed her. Being a vampire for roughly six months hadn’t given her the chance to become used to all the new abilities and extensions of normal senses. She shut the door softly, noting the click in the door jam. She reached into the shower stall and twisted the taps, the spray blasting the glistening white tiles.
Yawning again, and absently scratching the small of her back, Ruby looked at herself in the mirror. The light overhead made her skin luminescent; she was paler then she’d ever been. Set off by the long red hair that ran down past her hips, the vampiric gift David had given her had made her even that much more of a beauty. The roundness of her human days, what had been in her face, was gone and replaced by the sharp lines of a practiced killing machine. Her eyes were ice cold, blue-silver orbs in that china face. The silvery lines of her last mortal wound still traced like webs down her throat and neck, spilling down and fading into the undamaged skin of her shoulder and chest. Any new wounds she sustained, during sparring practice with David or in an accident, they erased every day while she slept, knitting back flawlessly.
Even the love bites David gave her faded away into nothingness by the next night.
Without thought, she slipped the four-band puzzle ring from her finger and set it on the counter. She only removed it for fear it would go down the drain and be lost; at all other times she wore it. Grabbing the hem of the undershirt, she slipped it off over her head, dropped it on the floor on top of the crumpled pile of her panties and stepped into the shower.
Ruby hissed as the shock of the scalding hot water hit her stone cold flesh. The steam was thick; she must have turned it completely to the left again. Quickly, she twisted the shower knobs until it was a much more comfortable temperature. Vampires weren’t exactly all that affected by burns and scalds from hot water, it was just highly uncomfortable. Soon her flesh gave in and took on the warmth from the water, heating the remnants of last night’s feed in her veins.
She pressed her cheek against the cool tile, while the water beat down on her neck, shoulders and back. It always felt exquisite. She’d lived so long in the cave with the Boys she’d forgotten the simple pleasures of a shower. Living in an actual house had spoiled her.
“Mmmm…” she mumbled, turning her head side to side, feeling the water beat a rhythm on her skin. It soaked her hair, which she twisted in both hands and pulled over her shoulder. She closed her eyes, hearing the soft whisk of the shower curtain as it pulled back. Callused hands slick with soap moved along her shoulders in a gentle massage. Ruby sighed contentedly.
“You never told me you were good at massage.” She mumbled. David grinned behind her, his hands working along her shoulder blades and spine deftly.
“You never asked.” He chuckled. She grinned at him over her shoulder and smirked, as he pulled her against him from behind. His arms wrapped tightly around Ruby, David kissed behind her ear. Ruby relaxed against him, head rested against the side of his neck as he skimmed his soapy hands over her stomach and waist. David was content to wash, his touches moving southward down her hips and abs, floating his fingers over her thighs.
“Hmm?” Ruby felt the vibrations of his reply, her cheek still pressed to his neck. She felt his fingertip ring her navel softly.
“You were remembering your time watching me in the woods, back home in Oregon this morning.” It wasn’t really a question, because she knew he had been. Ruby caught the flicker of his disappointment at being caught slide back under his mental shield.
David rested his hand against the flat of her abs, stepping her forward to rinse away the soap. “You caught me.”
“Why?” Ruby reached over his arm and picked up the shampoo. Uncapping it, she poured some into David’s awaiting palm.
David pursed his lips as he massaged the shampoo into Ruby’s hair. “Just remembering, is all. I suppose I still am in disbelief I found you again, and we’re here.” He paused then added an afterthought. “Together.”
He was right. It was still overwhelming at times for Ruby to think on. She’d come to Santa Cruz approaching five years now. She’d written a movie script, sold it, seen it filmed and transferred to the silver screen. She’d grown and changed in those years, as fast as they had flown by.
And she hadn’t always been with David. She’d been with Marko first. Ruby had loved Marko with all her heart, and he had felt the same. Still did. Marko’s face swam through her inner vision, his sweet shy smile. He had made the choice to release her, break up with her, after David had turned her. Ruby had protested, but Marko had made the decision stick.
Now she was David’s lover, as well as childer, and bonded to him in ways she could never be to Marko. Blood bonds went far beyond those of love. What she felt for David was the complete and utter opposite of what she’d felt with Marko. The love with Marko had been such a sweet and tender thing, far more pure and simple. With David it was fierce and wild, fed by their connection and his experience. Ruby had never known you could scream and howl yourself hoarse and have it feel so good.
David nipped her shoulder as he pulled away to wash himself. Ruby blinked, coming back to reality. David cocked a brow, lathering his hands up with the bar of soap. “What?”
“Nothing. Just thinking.” Ruby gathered her shields tight, but David didn’t bother to pry. He’d been relatively good about leaving her to her own thoughts most times. She turned slightly, eyeing the blonde vampire as he showered beside her. Every single bite wound she’d made on his chest not more then twenty-four hours before had healed and disappeared. Not a trace remained. Wistfully, she remembered the marks Marko had made on her; never bites, but mostly hickeys that were very innocent, a high school teenage lover type of act. Marko had never been rough with her.
David was a beast in bed. Sometimes.
“Ruby?” David cupped the side of her face, her chin resting in his palm. Her ice blue eyes rose to his. “Pack a bag, okay? For maybe three days. Simple stuff, but warm.”
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, now, would it?” he grinned and nipped the tip of her nose teasingly. “I think I stashed your old backpack in the other room’s closet.”
“I’ll get it out.” Ruby nipped the side of his hand with her own sharp teeth and David chuckled. “You sure you won’t tell me what you’ve gone and planned?”
“Nope.” David pushed her backwards under the showerhead, his hands washing the shampoo from her scalp and hair thoroughly. Ruby closed her eyes, letting the water run down her face as well, falling into the gentle swoon that always happened when David laid his hands on her. Shortly, he was pressing her back against the slick tiles that lined the wall of the shower, his hands gripping her waist and sliding her upwards easily. Ruby snaked an arm over his shoulder and around the back of his neck as David stepped in against her.
They fit together once more, David with his customary groan of satisfaction. Ruby gently bit his pierced ear, her legs sliding around and locking behind him tightly. To say their love life was active was pure understatement; Ruby had always known she’d only been seeing one side of David when she was living in the cave with the Boys. The added fact she’d been with Marko at that time had never made her even think once about David in a sexual aspect. Well, that was a lie, but it had never gone more beyond a brief thought.
With a soft rumble, David caught her mouth with his and began again their game of who could out kiss whom. Ruby growled softly back, tipping her head and slanting her mouth against his. The struggle continued until his movements became more erratic and less controlled, David’s head dropping and his face pressed against the front of Ruby’s shoulder.
Her own gasps coming more frequently, Ruby slid her hand up the side of his face, the stubble on his cheek grazing her palm. She shivered as deeply as he, her hand sliding into his white-blonde hair and down the back of his head. With a growl and a thrust that would have left large bruises on a human’s hips, David found his own release. Sending the sensations through their blond-bond, he pushed Ruby into her own, watching and feeling her shudder against him, her toes curl against the small of his back.
Ruby gasped weakly against the last tugs of her climax, laying her cheek to the wet line of David’s shoulder. They stayed joined for a long moment; David replaying the mental images of their coupling in his mind, Ruby content to be held in his arms against the tiled wall. Eventually, David pulled back, keeping his hands on her upper waist as he slid free. Then he replaced Ruby on her feet, smoothing his hand over her hair.
“Love you.” He murmured, kissing her forehead tenderly. Something about the way he said it sent Ruby back into his arms, her face buried against his chest. “What, Rube? What is it?”
Ruby swallowed hard, her face still pressed into David’s chest as she spoke. “I don’t know. There was just this icy chill that hit me, the feeling like just before you jump off the diving board into the pool and you’re free falling. You know the water is below you, but for that brief instant, everything hangs there.”
David frowned, his arms around his redheaded childer tight. “A vision?”
“Not really; just a warning. Another change is coming.”
The blonde vampire scowled. “I never got the powers of premonition and foresight.” Ruby sensed his frustration, sent back a stroke of calm to him.
“Don’t worry David. It’s not here yet.”
“But I like to be prepared.”
David sighed. “Maybe I should cancel my plans.” Ruby frowned this time.
“I don’t think so. I don’t know what you’ve planned, but I don’t think it’s a part of this…whatever is coming.” David nodded, leaning down and kissing her softly but fiercely. His way of reassurance.
“I love you, Ruby.”
“I love you too, David.”